11/05/2008 12:00AM

Young jockey off to fast start at Beulah

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Jockey Chris Fackler is 900 miles from home but having a great time at Beulah Park. Fackler, 18, hails from Boelus, Neb., where his parents are part-time trainers. He began riding in June 2007 at the Lincoln State Fair and has ridden at all of the tracks in Nebraska.

"My folks both trained some, and I had a lot of friends who were grooms and knew a lot of trainers," Fackler said. "I have always been light, so they talked me into trying it. It seemed a nice fit."

A natural lightweight, Fackler had won 6 races at Beulah Park from 34 mounts coming into Wednesday's card, a 17 percent win rate.

"I am lucky that I don't have to reduce, I usually weigh between 106 to 108," Fackler said. "If I eat a lot and gain, I don't feel hungry the next day and don't eat much."

A couple of jockeys in Nebraska helped Fackler when he began riding, and the jockeys in the room at Beulah have helped him continue to get better.

"I get feedback here quite a bit," he said. "Most of the guys are friendly and try to help me after the races in the room, telling me what I did right and what I can do better."

If all goes well, Fackler hopes to try Turfway Park this winter.